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'Who Was in Charge in Early Modern Japan?: Governance from the Ground Up' with David Howell, Harvard University
'Who Was in Charge in Early Modern Japan?: Governance from the Ground Up' with David Howell, Harvard University
WhenFriday, Feb 21, 2020, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationThomson Hall (THO)
Campus room317
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsUW Japan Studies Program, and made possible by the SAAM Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas - part of the Saturday University Series.
Description

The political institutions of early modern Japan (1603–1868) have puzzled Western observers since the seventeenth century. With an emperor, shogun, and around 260 more or less autonomous daimyo domains, there’s plenty to puzzle over. Professor Howell looks at local governance through the lens of governmentality (both people’s experience of being governed and the ways in which they actively participated in facilitating their subjecthood to ruling authority) of rural villages. Villages that were shared among multiple overlords illustrate how commoners navigated the complexities of the institutions of rule.

David L. Howell is Professor of Japanese History at Harvard University and Editor of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. He received his B.A. from the University of Hawai'i at Hilo and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. He taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton before joining the Harvard faculty in 2010. Howell is the author of Capitalism from Within: Economy, Society, and the State in a Japanese Fishery (1995) and Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan (2005) as well as numerous articles. His research focuses on the social history of Japan in the Tokugawa and Meiji periods. He is particularly interested in the ways changing political and economic institutions affected the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people over the course of the nineteenth century. His current projects include a short survey of the Meiji Restoration period and a history of human waste and garbage in the cities of Tokugawa and Meiji Japan. He is also a co-editor of a new edition of the Cambridge History of Japan, which is scheduled for publication in three volumes in 2020.

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